Ohio’s Easy Palestine residents are worried following the derailment of a Norfolk Southern freight train that was carrying toxic chemicals. The Environmental Protection Agency claimed that the water in the area was safe to drink and that people could return to the town following an evacuation. However, residents continue to be weary as they can smell something strange in the air.
On February 3, 2023, 50 out of 150 Norfolk Southern train cars derailed in East Palestine, Ohio. They carried toxic chemicals, including vinyl chloride, butyl acrylate, and benzene among others. The first two were mostly released into the air. Crews released toxic chemicals from the derailed train cars into the air to avoid an explosion. This formed huge clouds of black smoke in the air.
Speaking about the dangers of releasing vinyl chloride into the air, TikTok user @nickdrom explained:
“When these trains crashed and these started leaking they weren’t just leaking liquid but they were spewing boiling gas”
One can have negative health impacts if exposed to Vinyl chloride, including headaches and nausea. Exposure to Butyl acrylate can lead to allergic reactions and irritation in the nose and the eyes. Several East Palestinian residents complained about experiencing the aforementioned symptoms. It was also revealed that 3,500 fishes in the nearby creaks died.
Netizens weary of experiencing acid rain in Ohio
Following the release of the chemicals into the air, several netizens took to Twitter to share their worries about possibly experiencing acid rain in East Palestine. Acid rain often occurs when nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, or sulfur dioxide react in the atmosphere, resulting in the rainwater becoming acidic.
Vinyl chloride typically breaks down carbon dioxide, formaldehyde and hydrochloric acid present in the air. Hydrochloric acid and carbon dioxide could then result in acidity in the rainwater.
Several other netizens also commented on the smell in the East Palestinen localities, which could possibly be from the toxic chemicals present in the air:
What happens if acid rain touches you?
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, if one happens to walk under acid rain or swim in an acidic lake, it is not more harmful than people swimming or walking in clean water. Acid rain does not burn the skin as one might believe. However, the sulfur dioxide that creates acid rain can cause lung problems like asthma and bronchitis.
Despite officials reassuring East Palestine, Ohio residents that the air and water is safe, several netizens claim to be experiencing negative health conditions since the derailment. Experts opine that official agencies are not doing a thorough investigation into the possibility of other chemicals being released into the air, which may be causing adverse health conditions.
Norfolk Southern has also been sued by residents and local business owners following the incident. They demand that the company must cover medical screenings of residents who live within a 30-mile radius of the derailment.
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